chapter capsules Chapter 17 — Gefangener der Bewegung 2. Juni

February 1975 – March 1975, 14 pages: This chapter will be bookended by two terrorist incidents that captured world attention. Late in February Peter Lorenz, CDU candidate for Berlin mayor in the early march election, is kidnapped by Movement 2 June outside of his house. One of the kidnappers is identified as Angela Luther, former Baader-Meinhof Gang member. A Polaroid photo is released early the next morning showing a disheveled Lorenz with a sign around his neck: “Peter Lorenz, Gefangener der Bewengung 2. Juni” — Peter Lorenz, prisoner of Movement 2 June.

The kidnappers demand the release of six imprisoned terrorists, all members of Movement 2 June save for Baader-Meinhof cofounder Horst Mahler. After much discussion the German government agrees, and arrangements are made to fly the released terrorists to the Middle East. Significantly the terrorists do not ask for the release of any terrorists accused of murder; the six they chose are entirely palatable. Mahler refuses to go, but the other released terrorists board a plane with former Berlin Mayor Heinrich Albertz, who will fly with them to ensure their freedom. Albertz, once a villain of leftists because of his support of the brutal police actions that led to the death of Benno Ohnesorg at a Berlin riot on June 2, 1967, is now a hero to many radicals for his about-face after the terrible riot. Lorenz is released unharmed shortly after the imprisoned terrorists are flown to freedom in the Middle East.

Inspired by the “success” of their comrades in the Movement 2 June, the remnants of the Baader-Meinhof Gang take over the West German Embassy in Stockholm. Ostensibly an effort to gain the release of the Baader-Meinhof defendants, the terrorists don’t seem to realize that their action might be perceived much differently than the Movement 2 June action of two months earlier. They kill two German diplomats and say that they will begin killing a hostage an hour until their comrades are released. Before any more action can be taken, an enormous terrorist bomb with faulty wiring accidentally explodes, setting the embassy on fire. One terrorist is killed immediately, and the others, all badly burned, are quickly caught.